Saturday, May 22, 2010

hard drive declares goodbye to all that

The home notebook's hard drive has stuck its middle platten to the world and has declared no mas.

I had it reformatted and a chkdsk revealed bad clusters. I shut it down and it will come up no more.only a blinking cursor. Bios test of the hard drive fails every time. .

It is one dead hard drive.

However, it failed with 2 more months left on the warranty and Costco is going to have me ship it out for service. Hooray for extended warranties.

Blogging this weekend will be light as the Blackberry is no replacement for a full notebook with picture upload capability.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Remember the Raisin!

Went to court in Monroe, Michigan today and passed by the monument to the Battle of the River Raisin at the north west corner East Elm Ave & North Dixie Hwy, and I also passed signs to the River Rasin Battlefield National Park.

The River Raisin battlefield, on January 22, 1813 was the site of a now almost forgotten battle and the subsequent massacre of 30-40 wounded US troops by the British and Indians that took place during the war of 1812 .

"Remember the Raisin" was a rallying cry for US troops in the war, but it lacked the punchy and emotive staying power of the later "Remember The Alamo".

But them's the grapes.

Normal Blogging Now Resumes

I've been out of contact as we just had the joy of being approved to close on a house and then actually moving.

Combine various issues arising in the closing process. Thank you Bank for your spurious objection that was resolved once we proved a negative to your satisfaction, one the day before closing. And thank you, FHA for delaying closing for a week after making an issue the day of the closing - how about being proactive and finding the "issues" before the closing, it's not like this was a surprise purchase. So after almost being homeless, we closed at 5:30 pm the day before the movers came for our stuff. Lots of fun and some new gray hairs as a result. Only downside to the new house - the driveway is even more vertical than the last - I mean we can ski off that sucker in the winter and it is at least a blue square if not a black diamond. To put it simply, the moving truck could not make it up the hill.

Adding to the fun, Comcast instead of making the account a transfer to the new house completely canceled the internet and TV and phone account completely, rendering the house without all such services.

Then right after Comcast came and installed the services, Vista crashed. You know its bad when the only message you get is "Corrupt System Volume". After much cursing, restoring and hoping, it has been brought back to life, and a neglected complete backup of the data and pics on the computer was hastily made. Note to others - do your backups regularly and do em often. But all is well and we finally have internet access again at home.

So Coming up shortly, I will post on the incredible Great Lakes wreck dives I did last Sunday, complete with pictures.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

66 Years Ago Today - Grand Uncle Leon Was Shot Down Over Belgium

My Great-Uncle, Leon Panzer joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) once he came of age in 1942 and became a Haifax III bomber pilot. Shot down over Belgium, he was captured by the Germans and had quite a harrowing escape.

From: Flyboys on the Ground:
After being shot down on May 9, 1944, Flying Officer Leon Panzer of Toronto was hidden by various Belgian helpers until early August when he and four other evaders were taken to Brussels. Their new host cell turned out to be a “front” run by the enemy, with a resistance traitor funnelling evaders into a trap. Imprisoned in Brussels, Panzer was closely interrogated and accused of being a saboteur because he was wearing civilian clothes when he was captured. Although he was not tortured, he saw many civilian prisoners who had been terribly beaten.

Family oral history holds he was accused of being a saboteur and not eligible for prisoner of war protections as the Gestapo figured out pretty quickly that he was Jewish in addition to being Canadian. Family history also holds that his flight crew quite rightly and bravely stood by him and insisted he be treated as a POW just like them.

On Sept. 1, 1944, Panzer and about 50 other PoWs were put on a train bound for Germany. Allied air attacks had so disrupted the railways that they could not be moved. After two attempts to get out of Brussels, the Germans derailed the train and fled. Panzer and his comrades met British troops on Sept. 4.

Grand Uncle Leon's Mention in dispatches recording can reads as follows: (From G Carruther's 432 RCAF Squadron Website):
PANZER, F/O Leon (J27423) - Mention in Despatches - No.432 Squadron (identified only as "Overseas" in AFRO) - Award effective 14 June 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 1478/45 dated 21 September 1945. Home in Toronto; enlisted there 4 May 1942. Trained at No.5 ITS (graduated 6 February 1943) and No.4 AOS (graduated 9 July 1943). DHist file 181.009 D.5557 (RG.24 Vol.20668) has recommendation dated 2 December 1944, indicating he had flown on only one sortie.

Flying Officer Panzer was forced to bale out over enemy territory on returning from a raid over Haine St.Pierre on the night of May 9th, 1944, and displayed outstanding initiative in evading capture for an extended period. On being betrayed, taken prisoner, and treated as a saboteur he conducted himself in a highly commendable manner. For his devotion to duty and unwavering loyalty under adverse circumstances it is recommended this officer be Mentioned in Despatches (Immediate).

Adding to the story is that there was a comic book published about his exploits. The extended family has a copy and when I'm next in Toronto I'm going to see if I can get my hands on it and reproduce it on this blog.

Apparently legend and the comic has it that after the Germans abandoned the train he escaped from it and led his crew into the nearest Belgian city as the Germans were pulling out, becoming the first Allied officer to enter and liberate the city.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Dive #133 - A Night Dive at Union Lake

Wes, Keith and I, accompanied by the far more experienced Chad and Maki went for a night dive last night.

Chad lent me one of his Oceanic Shadow masks to try out - a real nice mask with a great fit and no leaks like my current mask so I may have to get one.

Night dives are pretty cool - you can only see as far as your light cuts through the dark, and you can lose your reference points pretty easily if you're not paying attention. The lake is different at night - more of the small fish come out and you see things you don't notice during the day.

I saw a really big Mudpuppy as we were doing our ascent. These strange creatures are rather shy and not seen on every dive. Neat to finally see one.

During our practice over the sunken pontoon boat, I finally completed a full valve drill! I could reach all my valves and get them closed and opened in proper sequence. I stayed in control and maintained decent buoyancy while doing it. This was my current diving bugbear and now that I've been able to complete it, its time to work on refining it. Lots of arm stretches and changing my undersuit to a more flexible garment have really helped me reach my valves. Hooray for me!

We did some back kicks, out of air drills and some general good team practice - nice team awareness and communication and a smooth ascent - still lots to work on but we're really coming together as a team and have made a ton of progress!

We got out of the water and completed our decompression obligation at The Library Pub with a few drinks of choice. A nice night for a dive.